The actual dollar amount is $41,559.00 – which is the gross income I earned in 2016 (this does not include my income from my corporate career – strictly my side hustles). If you don’t know what gross income means, it is the amount of salary or wages paid to the individual by an employer (my clients across various business ventures) before any deductions are taken.
I have receipts.
I wouldn’t ever lead you astray. Below is a snapshot from my PayPal statement. The remaining balance of my total income came through in either e-money transfers, checks or cash. It’s a bit hard to read. It says $2,450.00 CAD and $21,675.39 USD.
I recently aired out my dirty laundry and blogged about my finances in a post called My (Very Honest) Income Report + Smart Money Goals That Keep Me Driven. It’s one of my most-read blog posts to-date. Quite frankly because people are naturally curious and if given the opportunity they want to know your truth. For some, money is such a hush-hush subject. It makes people uncomfortable perhaps because they associate it with status. For me, it’s about security. The decisions I make today will determine whether or not my (future) children eat or starve and I’m tryna raise kings and queens. In my blog post called Why Every Woman Should Have F.U. Money, I talk about the importance of putting yourself in a position to win.
But, each new level requires greater focus.
Juggling a corporate career and side hustle(s) is hard, but not impossible. This is probably one of the craziest ninja moves I’ve pulled – but something this extreme doesn’t happen often. I wrote a blog post about how I’ve managed to “balance” (using that word very loosely btw) over the years here. I hate when people use the excuse, “lack of time.” It’s a cop-out. It’s lazy. It’s an easy way to cover up the fact that you don’t want to work hard enough. Because lack of time is not your issue, the inability to manage it is. People who value themselves, highly allocate their time carefully and give their time usage a lot of thought (Btw, I love Michael Hyatt’s My Ideal Week strategy.) If you take nothing else from this post, please learn how to master your 24-hour day.
Before I break down how I generated a 2nd salary, here’s a quick recap of my revenue streams (outside of my corporate job)
- Public Speaking + Hosting
- Affiliate marketing (via my blog)
- My book, Everything I Couldn’t Tell My Mother
- Youth Curriculum, Everything I Couldn’t Tell My Mother
- Ghostwriting (for celebrity/CEO clients)
- Consulting/Mentorship (teens/millennials)
- Staff Writer at an undisclosed PR firm (Based in NY/Philly)
- #MogulTalk (Paid Email Subscription service)
I’m going to try and highlight the most important strategies I used last year to make this happen. Please note that it’s so much more than what I can relate in a single blog post, so if you have any follow up questions shoot me a line: email@example.com. Below are 10 ways I turned my passions into profits – in no particular order.
1. You only need 1,000 true fans.
The originator of this theory, Kevin Kelly, wrote an original essay in 2008. Here is the gist of it.
“To be a successful creator you don’t need millions. You don’t need millions of dollars or millions of customers, millions of clients or millions of fans. To make a living as a craftsperson, photographer, musician, designer, author, animator, app maker, entrepreneur, or inventor you need only thousands of true fans.
A true fan is defined as a fan that will buy anything you produce. These diehard fans will drive 200 miles to see you sing; they will buy the hardback and paperback and audible versions of your book; they will purchase your next figurine sight unseen; they will pay for the “best-of” DVD version of your free youtube channel; they will come to your chef’s table once a month. If you have roughly a thousand of true fans like this (also known as super fans), you can make a living — if you are content to make a living but not a fortune.”
I started blogging in 2009. I started public speaking in 2010. I’ve had supporters literally (I don’t like the word fans too much) grow with me ever since. For this, I’ve gone out of my way to show my appreciation. It’s a two-way street. These close-knit relationships I’ve built with my audience has been the biggest driver to many paid referrals, sold out events, award nominations and even an endorsement of my book from Queen Latifah herself.
2. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.
Long before Gary Vaynerchuck developed this now-popular phrase, I was practicing this business strategy. If you don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, GOOGLE IT. Both Gary, and his book. Here’s the gist of it.
“Your story needs to move people’s spirits and build their goodwill, so that when you finally do ask them to buy from you, they feel like you’ve given them so much it would be almost rude to refuse.”
(Some) New business owners or side hustlers I’ve met, have yet to understand the concept of giving shit away for free and expecting nothing in return. Generosity is the very best business strategy. I’ve used it since day one and have never had an empty sales funnel since. Whether through my newsletter, blog content, vlog series, podcast, social media, thank you notes, conference calls, meet & greets, book giveaways, and more – it all matters. The consumer needs to build an emotional connection through your work. People want to see the real you. Don’t play pretend so that you can look more attractive. Choose purpose over popularity. Like my mentor always says, you should tell the story behind the glory. It’s about emotionally connecting with your audience and communicating your story so that it is clear, consistent and compelling. Stop pushing the service or product and start pushing your story.
Those who do the work, win. Those who don’t, don’t. Build your brand by telling the truth. As a brand you should put in work to serve your audience and the only way you can learn more about your audience is to listen.
3. Smart money, makes money.
I’m Canadian and I have quite a few clients from the United States. The currency exchange rate works in my favor. Honestly, it’s easy math. A simple chess move that has changed the way I play my game.
4. I only focus on my strengths.
I excel at mentoring, consulting, writing and public speaking. I stay in that lane. I have no business selling services or products outside of that world. Self-awareness is a real thing, not a buzz word. That being said, I think chillin’ by yourself is very important. Get to know YOU. What are you good at? What activities make you lose track of time? How do you spend your 24 hours? Why do you want additional funds? It’s the conversations you have with yourself which determine whether you win or lose at this game. Head down, stay in your lane. Don’t swerve into the fitness industry or create a clothing line if that is not YOUR dream. Maybe it’s your parents’ or your peers, and if that’s the case leave it to them.
5. Diversify your income.
Once you know what you’re good at then you can consider HOW you’d like to deliver the goods. Consider coaching services, digital products, affiliate income, physical products, public speaking or live events. Read this article to find out more.
6. Don’t be afraid to apply for jobs you’re not qualified for.
Many of us have been programmed to believe that we don’t have the power to choose what we want in our lives, but the reality is that we do! I dropped out of college my second year, so technically I wasn’t “qualified” to do a lot of things I currently do now. I built my experience in other ways like building a personal brand and blog which opened so many doors. I didn’t go to school for professional writing. It’s all self-taught. I developed from an amateur blogger (age 21) to a Nationally Published Journalist (age 22) to a Best Selling Author (age 26) to a Celebrity/CEO Ghostwriter (now)which has become a significant portion of my side income. Same with public speaking. No one “taught” me how to become one. I learned to start before I was ready. Listen, start somewhere. Take a step anywhere but backward.
7. Spend time with wealthy people.
In my case, my mentors and (a few friends) would fit that category. If you want to be successful you need to rub shoulders (and or study) the habits of successful people. Their energy will rub off on you. If you cannot connect anyone personally, there’s always the Internet. I study one Fortune 500 CEO monthly. I’ll read every article, watch every talk, follow them closely on social media – I don’t miss a beat. I just finished studying Jeff Weiner from LinkedIn. Oh! Another random habit I have is to drive around wealthy neighborhoods. I’m such a believer in the law of attraction. I will literally sit on the side of the road and envision my plot of land right where I am. I did it when I was dead ass broke and still do it now that I’m a better position financially. No dream is too big. Last thing, if you don’t try to understand money, you will always be a slave to it. Your money mindset is important. 3 of my favorite money mindset books are:
May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein
Money: A Love Story by Kate Northrup
Get Rich Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield-Thomas
The Law of Divine Compensation by Marianne Williamson
8. Raise your prices (and don’t feel badly about it).
Here are 4 cool articles that give you the confidence to change your price model.
9. Master your sales pitch (or hire someone who is brilliant at it).
Every business owner needs to know how to sell. It is essential. I know you don’t want to, but without truly understanding how to sell yourself (organically), you’ve already lost. No pressure. Still don’t know what I mean? Watch this guy closely and take notes. You can learn a lot from him. It’s probably one of the best sales pitches I’ve ever seen. A tad overboard but still a solid sell. Another great resource that has helped me is Nisha Moodley’s ‘Free to Say Yes’ – It’s an eBook and voice note. She explains, in full detail, 7-step sales process that leaves clients freedom to say yes. When I first started out in business, I used her formula and it is amazing. At this point, I’m extremely comfortable. I could sell you a napkin and make you believe it will change your entire life.
But above all else, know your shit. If you have a product or service to sell, you need to know everything and anything about it. Study your industry inside out and be ready for any follow up questions. (…because someone like me will ask them before I decide to buy). A key lesson I learned is people don’t buy services/products, they buy the transformation they expect as a result of using your service/product. So focus more on the experience you can provide, rather than your title. At the very least you should have your personal brand statement down. This 30-second elevator pitch could make or break you.
10. Multiply what you already have.
First thought that comes to mind is invest, invest, invest. For years, all the income I made from my business, I put right back into the business so I could grow. The second strategy that was helpful is to build a team. You can read why team building is critical here or come with me to my office and meet my team click here. Bringing on freelancers has enabled me to take on more clients and larger projects. As a business owner, my role is to develop and expand the brand while my team maintains it.
The above is only a slice. There are so many other strategies that I have not mentioned, however, I hope you now know what is possible. For the new kid on the block who has been trying and failing and trying and failing. Keep going! You’re up next.
Peace & Love,